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 News Release - March 17, 2006

IRIDEX Appoints New Vice President of Product Innovation

Deborah Tomasco Brings More Than 20 Years of Rapid Product Development and Process Management Expertise to IRIDEX

New Marketing Managers Complete Marketing Team

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif., March 17 (HSMN NewsFeed) -- IRIDEX Corporation (Nasdaq: IRIX ) today announced that it has appointed Deborah Tomasco (age 46) as its new Vice President of Product Innovation. Ms. Tomasco has a strong track record spanning more than 20 years of enabling rapid product development as well as program management expertise in developing high performance teams. She spent the past seven years as a consultant helping companies develop and implement rapid product development and business strategies.

As the President of InSync Solutions, Ms. Tomasco specialized in creating high level program management, business process and supply chain development plans for a variety of companies. In this role she managed clients' long-term product development and helped them balance the risk-reward ratio in their portfolios of product development opportunities. Her expertise helped her clients rapidly and profitably introduce new products by streamlining business processes, resulting in significant time-to-market improvements. As an example, she successfully enabled one of her clients to accomplish four product introductions within a four-month period, a product development pipeline and design transfer breakthrough for the company.

Prior to her tenure at InSync, Ms. Tomasco spent more than seven years with LifeScan, Inc., a Johnson & Johnson Company, in a variety of technical and executive roles with escalating responsibility. LifeScan is a manufacturer of blood glucose monitoring systems and disposable test strips. The company had revenues of approximately $1.9 billion in 2005 and has approximately 2,500 employees. Ms. Tomasco's last role at LifeScan was the Program Director, Operations where she was responsible for project teams with cross-functional staffing of more than 100 employees. Prior to this position at LifeScan, she was the Director, Advanced Technology Quality Assurance and was responsible for directing all quality assurance functions related to new product development. During her time with LifeScan, Ms. Tomasco also held the roles of Director, Reagents Quality Assurance, Senior Project Manager, Senior Scientist and Materials and Processing Consultant.

"One of the key components of our growth strategy is our focus on introducing innovative products that can satisfy the unmet and emerging needs of our customers. Deborah's extensive expertise and energy will allow her to lead us successfully in these efforts," said Barry G. Caldwell, President and CEO. "Deborah's valuable experience in creating and managing product development processes will make her an excellent leader of our talented team of laser device engineers. We look forward to Deborah's many contributions as we work to rapidly build our robust, market-focused product development pipeline and successfully deliver a consistent stream of innovative products to our customers."

Before LifeScan, Ms. Tomasco spent 8 years in advanced materials product development with positions of increasing responsibility. She spent three years at Foster-Miller, Inc., an engineering and technology development firm, where she authored technical proposals to government and commercial clients and managed the awarded programs. Prior to this, she worked for ICI/Fiberite Composite Materials, an advanced materials supplier to the aerospace, defense, and sporting goods markets, where she managed product qualifications and provided technical services to customers. Before this experience, Ms. Tomasco managed a small business venture, the Advanced Fiber Nonwovens program at International Paper Company where she directed all aspects of the business including production, marketing, product development and quality assurance. Ms. Tomasco began her career at International Paper's Formed Fabrics Division, where she was responsible for nonwoven product development efforts. Ms. Tomasco holds a BA in Chemistry from Smith College and a Masters of Science in Technology Management from Pepperdine University, where her thesis topic was "Mastering Successful Innovation and Rapid Product Development."

Marketing Team Expanded

In addition, IRIDEX announced it has completed the recruitment of its new marketing team with the additions of Gregory Halstead, M.Sc., and Laurel Burk. Greg comes to IRIDEX with seven years of marketing and engineering experience in the ophthalmic laser industry. Prior to IRIDEX, he spent four years with VISX, Inc., in various roles including the Global Marketing Manager for ophthalmic lasers. Laurel joins IRIDEX with six years of experience at Kyphon, Inc., a medical device company focused on the treatment of spinal fractures. She held the position of Marketing Specialist where she initiated the marketing concepts for the balloon Kyphoplasty procedure, a minimally invasive treatment for spinal fractures caused by osteoporosis and cancer. Vice President of Marketing, Don Todd, said, "We are very excited that Greg and Laurel have joined our team and look forward to the significant contributions they will make as we take the Company's marketing efforts to the next level."

The Company also announced today that in accordance with NASDAQ Marketplace Rule 4350(i)(1)(A)(iv), as amended, it granted a non-qualified stock option to Deborah Tomasco, as an inducement material to Ms. Tomasco entering into employment with IRIDEX. The option is exercisable for 50,000 shares of common stock at an exercise price of $8.26 per share. This option grant was approved by a majority of the independent members of the Board of Directors of IRIDEX. The options granted to Ms. Tomasco vest over a four year period, with 1/4 of the total number of shares subject to each option vesting one year following the grant date of such option and 1/48 of the total number of shares subject to such option vesting each full month thereafter, provided that Ms. Tomasco continues to be a service provider to IRIDEX on each of these dates.


IRIDEX Corporation is a leading worldwide provider of semiconductor-based laser systems for the ophthalmology and dermatology markets. IRIDEX products are sold in the United States through a direct sales force and internationally through a network of independent distributors into more than 100 countries. For further information, visit the Company's website at

Forward Looking Statements

This press release contains forward-looking statements that involve risks and uncertainties, including statements relating to the IRIDEX' sales and marketing organization and processes and strategies relating thereto. Actual results may differ materially from the results predicted and reported results should not be considered as an indication of future performance. Factors that could cause actual results to differ from the results predicted are included in IRIDEX' quarterly reports on Form 10-Q and from time to time in other reports filed by IRIDEX with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Source: IRIDEX

Issuer of this News Release is solely responsible for its content.
Please address inquiries directly to the issuing company.

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